Coronavirus Diary (34): PPE–It’s Now or Never

It’s really this simple: the clever assholes who’ve spent their time snarking their way through denial or minimization of the COVID-19 pandemic have nothing to offer in the way of solutions to the actual problems anyone is facing right now. At this point, there’s only one solution at the disposal of the average person: ignore such people and render direct assistance to those in need. Continue reading

Coronavirus Diary (33): Interview with Mike Maron, CEO of Holy Name Hospital

This is an excellent interview on NJTV news with Mike Maron, CEO of Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey. I mentioned Maron in the very first post I did in this series. As he says here, he subsequently contracted COVID-19 and recovered.

Hospital CEO recovers from COVID-19 with a public message

The video offers up some useful challenges to a lot of ideological preconceptions. Continue reading

Coronavirus Diary (32): Who Does Not Treat Shall Not Eat

All those thought-experiments you might have encountered while studying consequentialism versus deontology in grad school or some intro ethics course are about to become terrible realities in New York City and northern New Jersey within the next few hours. I’m writing this on Sunday night, April 5th. By tomorrow morning, there’ll be no escape in this area from the misery I’m about to describe. The surge is imminent. The minimizers, deniers, and skeptics were wrong. What you’re about to see is the twenty-first century equivalent of a painting by Hieronymous Bosch. Figure out now whether you want to look or avert your eyes. Continue reading

Coronavirus Diary (31): The Dark Side of South Jersey

When all this is over–whatever that even means–I hope no one tells me that things like this never happened. I know how tedious it is to see another post on this much-belabored issue. But hard experience with the 9/11 celebration rumors taught me that if you don’t rigorously document something in real time, people will deny its existence after the fact. Actually, some will deny its existence as it’s happening, and others will deny its existence no matter how rigorously it’s documented. Unfortunately, not every disease has a cure. Continue reading

Coronavirus Diary (30): Reporting from Brooklyn

I am too fucking exhausted to blog today, but too wound up not to. It occurs to me that getting sick would not be a good look right now, but on the other hand, I’d hate for silence to suggest complacency.

I’m going to resolve this dilemma by relying on a little help from my friends, or at least one of them. So today, I’m taking a break and referring you to the latest post on Chris Sciabarra’s blog, which you should have been reading the whole time anyway. Continue reading

Coronavirus Diary (29): Connect but Back Off

Here’s a short, sweet, simple piece from City of Hope about my friend William Dale MD’s efforts to bridge the gap (or apparent gap) between generations, ensuring that older people get the social support they need during this crisis. It’s easy, given the imperatives of social distancing, to forget about them.

“Mary,” a City of Hope patient and a 70-something grandmother from Beverly Hills, worries that the coronavirus and the calls to practice social distancing may actually make things worse for many seniors who already lack the close personal connections they desperately need.

“I just wish that people would not think that older people are invisible or incompetent,” she said. “I think that many of us seniors are very isolated and lonesome.”

The whole article provides a welcome contrast to the explicit ageism and the infantile enthusiasm for generational conflict that seems to dominate so much social-media discourse.

Continue reading

Coronavirus Diary (28): The Fifth Amendment Under Quarantine

The Attorney General (of New Jersey) needs to explain whether the Fourth and Fifth Amendments have literally been suspended in Essex County, where enforcement actions have been stepped up considerably (especially in Newark, Irvington, Orange, and East Orange).

In order to be stopped by the police, there must be reasonable suspicion of the commission of an infraction within the jurisdiction of the officer doing the stop. The mere presence of a person in public cannot constitute reasonable suspicion of any infraction, including Executive Order 107.* So we need to know: do Fourth Amendment strictures still apply, or have they been discarded for the duration of the order? Continue reading

Coronavirus Diary (27): COVID-19 and the Banality of Evil

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Coronavirus Diary (26): New Jersey Under Siege

Most of the national media reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic has focused, understandably, on the catastrophe taking place in New York City, the epicenter of the pandemic. A student in one of my classes, with friends and family in Queens, told me that he knew personally of fifteen COVID-19 deaths in Queens alone (Elmhurst). New York City essentially leads the world right now in COVID-19 cases.

Somewhat lost in the shuffle as it always is, is the second-place case of New Jersey, where, apart from graduate school, I’ve lived all my life. You can turn on the TV to see what things are like in New York, but whether you see it there or not, things aren’t much different in Jersey: like New York, New Jersey is under siege. And “siege” is no metaphor. COVID-19 is an invading army–much more so than the Japanese, the Nazis, the Soviets, Al Qaeda, Saddam, or ISIS ever were–and we’re losing the battle to it. Continue reading